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A vision hermits can to hell transport,
And forced even me to see the damned at court.
Not Dante, dreaming all th' infernal state,
Beheld such scenes of envy, sin, and hate.
Base fear becomes the guilty, not the free;
Suits tyrants, plunderers, but suits not me:
Shall I, the terror of this sinful town,
Care, if a liveried lord or smile or frown?
Who cannot flatter, and detest who can, .
Tremble before a noble serving-man?
O my fair mistress, Truth! shall I quit thee
For huffing, braggart, puffed nobility!
Thou, who since yesterday hast rolled o'er all
The busy idle blockheads of the ball,
Hast thou, O Sun! beheld an emptier sort,
Than such as swell this bladder of a court?
Now pox on those who shew a court in wax?'
It ought to bring all courtiers on their backs:
Such painted puppets ! such a varnished race
Of hollow gew-gaws, only dress and face!
Such waxen noses, stately staring things-
No wonder some folks bow, and think them kings.
See! where the British youth, engaged no more
At Fig's,' at White's, with felons, or a w-
Pay their last duty to the court, and come
All fresh and fragrant to the drawing-room;
In hues as gay, and odours as divine,
As the fair fields they sold to look so fine.
“ That's velvet for a king!” the flatt'rer swears;
'Tis true, for ten days hence 'twill be King Lear’s.
Our court may justly to our stage give rules,
That helps it both to fool's-coats and to fools.
And why not players strut in courtiers' clothes ?
For these are actors too, as well as those:
Wants reach all states; they beg but better drest,
And all is splendid poverty at best.
Painted for sight, and essenced for the smell, Like frigates fraught with spice and cochine'l, Sail in the ladies: how each pirate eyes
So weak a vessel, and so rich a prize!
Top-gallant he, and she in all her trim,
He boarding her, she striking sail to him:
“Dear Countessé you have charms all hearts to hit!”
And “Sweet Sir Fopling! you have so much wit!”
Such wits and beauties are not praised for nought,
For both the beauty and the wit are bought;
'Twould burst even Heraclitus with the spleen,
To see those antics, Fopling and Courtin:
The presence seems, with things so richly odd,
The mosque of Mahound, or some queer pagod.
See them survey their limbs by Durer's rules,
Of all beau-kind the best-proportioned fools !
Adjust their clothes, and to confession draw
Those venial sins, an atom, or a straw;
But oh! what terrors must distract the soul
Convicted of that mortal crime, a hole;
Or should one pound of powder less bespread
Those monkey-tails that wag behind their head.
Thus finished, and corrected to a hair,
They march, to prate their hour before the fair.
So first to preach a white-gloved chaplain goes,
With band of lily and with cheek of rose,
Sweeter than Sharon, in immac'late trim,
Neatness itself impertinent in him.
Let but the ladies smile, and they are blest:
Prodigious! how the things protest, protest:
Peace, fools, or Gonson will for papists seize you,
If once he catch you at your Jesu, Jesu.?
Nature made ev'ry fop to plague his brother,
Just as one beauty mortifies another.
But here's the captain that will plague them both,
Whose air cries Arm! whose very look's an oath:
The captain's honest, sirs, and that's enough,
Though his soul's bullet, and his body buff.
He spits fore-right; his haughty chest before,
Like batt’ring rams, beats open ev'ry door:
And with a face as red, and as awry,
As Herod's hangdogs in old tapestry,
Scarecrow to boys, the breeding woman's curse,
Has yet a strange ambition to look worse;
Confounds the civil, keeps the rude in awe,
Jests like a licensed fool, commands like law.
Frighted, I quit the room, but leave it so
As men from gaols to execution go;
For, hung with deadly sins,' I see the wall,
And lined with giants deadlier than them al?•
Each man an Ascapart, of strength to toss
For quoits, both Temple Bar and Charing Cross.
Scared at the grizly forms, I sweat, I fly,
And shake all o'er, like a discovered spy.
Courts are too much for wits so weak as mine:
Charge them with heav'n's artillery, bold divine !
From such alone the great rebukes endure,
Whose satire's sacred, and whose rage secure:
'Tis mine to wash a few light stains, but theirs
To deluge sin, and drown a court in tears.
Howe'er what's now Apocrypha, my wit,
In time to come, may pass for Holy Writ.
IMITATED IN THE MANNER OF DR. SWIFT.
'Tis true, my lord, I gave my word,
I would be with you, June the third;
Changed it to August, and (in short)
Have kept it—as you do at court.
You humour me when I am sick,
Why not when I am splenetic?
In town, what objects could I meet?
The room hung with old tapestry, representing the seven deadly sins.-Pope,
The shops shut up in ev'ry street,
And fun'rals black’ning all the doors,
And yet more melancholy w ;
And what a dust in ev'ry place!
And a thin court that wants your face,
And fevers raging up and down,
And W* and H** both in town!
“The dog-days are no more the case.”
'Tis true; but winter comes apace:
Then southward let your bard retire,
Hold out some months 'twixt sun and fire,
And you shall see the first warm weather,
Me and the butterflies together.
My lord, your favours well I know;
'Tis with distinction you bestow;
And not to ev'ry one that comes,
Just as a Scotsman does his plums.
“Pray take them, sir,-enough's a feast:
Eat some, and pocket up the rest.”—
What? rob your boys? those pretty rogues !
“No, sir, you'll leave them to the hogs.'
Thus fools with compliments besiege ye,
Contriving never to oblige ye.
Scatter your favors on a fop,
Ingratitude's the certain crop;
And 'tis but just; I'll tell ye wherefore,
You give the things you never care for.
A wise man always is or should
Be mighty ready to do good;
But makes a difference in his thought
Betwixt a guinea and a groat.
Now this I'll say you'll find in me
A safe companion, and a free;
But if you'd have me always near-
A word, pray, in your honour's ear
I hope it is your resolution
To give me back my constitution!
The sprightly wit, the lively eye,
Th’ engaging smile, the gaiety,
That laughed down many a summer sun,
And kept you up so oft till one:
And all that voluntary vein,
As when Belinda raised my strain.
A weasel once made shift to slink
In at a corn-loft through a chink;
But having amply stuffed his skin,
Could not get out as he got in:
Which one belonging to the house
('Twas not a man, it was a mouse)
Observing, cried, “ You 'scape not so,
Lean as you came, sir, you must go.”
Sir, you may spare your application,
I'm no such beast, nor his relation;
Nor one that temperance advance,
Crammed to the throat with ortolans:
Extremely ready to resign
All that may make me none of mine.
South-sea subscriptions take who please,
Leave me but liberty and ease.
'Twas what I said to Craggs and Child,
Who praised my modesty, and smiled.
“Give me,” I cried, “(enough for me)
My bread, and independency!”
So bought an annual rent or two,
And lived—just as you see I do;
Near fifty, and without a wife,
I trust that sinking fund, my life.
Can I retrench ? Yes, mighty well,
Shrink back to my paternal cell,
A little house, with trees a-row
And, like its master, very low.
There died my father, no man's debtor,
And there I'll die, nor worse nor better.
To set this matter full before ye, Our old friend Swift will tell his story.
“Harley, the nation's great support,”— But you may read it; I stop short.